ST. LOUIS – A man from St. Peters, Missouri on Thursday admitted downloading and sharing child pornography via a variety of social media apps.
Eric Crews, 37, pleaded guilty to a charge of possession of child pornography in front of U.S. District Judge Rodney W. Sippel. Crews admitted using social media to send and receive child pornography, including via large group chats.
The investigation began when Crews uploaded 14 files containing child sexual abuse material to Kik Messenger on Nov. 11, 2020, and shared them with at least one other Kik user.
A tip from the messaging app to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children resulted in a court-approved search of Crews’ home by St. Charles County police on June 15, 2021. Investigators found at least 5,400 images and 610 videos containing child pornography on Crews’ Apple iPhone. Also on the phone was evidence of Crews’ use of Viber, WhatsApp and TamTam accounts to obtain child sexual abuse material, his plea agreement says.
Crews could face up to 20 years in prison, a $250,000 fine, or both when sentenced January 6.
The St. Charles County Police Department and the FBI investigated this case. Assistant U.S. Attorney Jillian Anderson prosecuted the case.
This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice. Led by U.S. Attorneys’ Offices and the Department of Justice Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to better locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the Internet, as well as to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.justice.gov/psc.